Republicans continue hold on Monroe County government

Pictured, retiring Monroe County Clerk Dennis Knobloch congratulates fellow Republican Jonathan McLean on his victory in the county clerk’s race Tuesday night. (Corey Saathoff photo)

Republicans maintained their strong presence in Monroe County on Tuesday night, as Jonathan McLean won the race against Democrat Jason Jones Sr. for Monroe County Clerk.

With 60 percent voter turnout reported, McLean defeated Jones 65.2 percent to 34.8 percent, with 10,052 of citizens voting for McLean and 5,366 siding with Jones. There were nearly 2,800 in-person early voters this year in Monroe County and more than 900 mail-in votes.

The turnout percentage is higher than the past few midterm elections: 49.73 percent in 2006, 50.54 percent in 2010 and 52.27 percent in 2014.

“Thank you to all of my supporters, everyone who came out and walked, put signs in their yard, contributed,” McLean said. “Tonight’s their win, also. Tonight’s a historical night for the Republican party, taking every office in the county. I’m proud of the work we put into it and look forward to serving everyone in Monroe County the next four years.”

In the race for Illinois State Representative of the Illinois 116th District, Democrat Jerry Costello II of Smithton had 53.5 percent of votes l while Republican David Friess of Red Bud garnered 46.5 percent.

In Monroe County, 48.93 percent of voters picked Costello while 51.07 percent selected Friess.

“I am thankful and humbled to again have the opportunity to serve the residents of Southern Illinois. While we just experienced a tough campaign, I am grateful that voters looked past the misleading messages in their mailbox and recognized my independent record of fighting for our shared values and against reckless tax increases that would hurt families,” Costello said. “I wish David Friess and his family well, and as a conservative I look forward to working together with Republicans and Democrats to do what is best for Southern Illinois.”

In the race for U.S. Representative of the 12th Illinois Congressional District, Republican incumbent Mike Bost of Murphysboro beat Democrat Brendan Kelly of Swansea with 51.8 percent of the vote compared to Kelly’s 45.2 percent.

In Monroe County, 62.3 percent of citizens voted for Bost while 36 percent voted for Kelly.

Bost declared victory late Tuesday night.

“I’m incredibly proud of the campaign we put together,” Bost said. We fought hard, focused on the issues, and always made Southern Illinois values our top priority. I congratulate Brendan Kelly on a hard-fought campaign. It’s the honor of a lifetime serving Southern Illinois in our nation’s capital, and I’m looking forward to doing so for another term.”

In local uncontested races, Monroe County Treasurer Kevin Koenigstein, Monroe County Sheriff Neal Rohlfing, Monroe County Supervisor of Assessments Carl Wuertz, now Monroe County Commissioner Ron Schultheis, and Regional Superintendent of Schools Kelton Davis will continue to serve.

They are all Republicans.

“Monroe County voters continue to put their faith in the Republican party to find highly qualified candidates that reflect our Monroe County values,” Monroe County Republican Central Committee Chairman Ed McLean said. “Every Monroe County elected office is now held by a conservative that has the qualifications and dedication to serve all Monroe County residents.”

A local race of interest was the vote in Columbia regarding the Columbia Fire Protection District tax referendum. It passed handily, with 66 percent of Columbia voters supporting the department’s initiative to bring Columbia EMS under the umbrella of the Columbia Fire Department rather than Monroe County EMS and the county board.

Columbia residents in Monroe County will be largely unaffected while Columbia residents in St. Clair County will begin paying the same tax as their Monroe County counterparts.

In statewide elections, Democrat J.B. Pritzker won for Illinois Governor, beating Republican incumbent Bruce Rauner 54.3 percent to 38.9 percent with 90 percent of precincts reporting .

In Monroe County, 60 percent of residents voted for Rauner while only 34 percent voted for Pritzker.

In local judicial races, Republican David Overstreet beat Democrat Kevin Hoerner for a seat on the Fifth Appellate District Court, Democrat Heinz Rudolf beat Republican Katherine Ruocco for a spot on the 20th Judicial Circuit Court, Democrat John O’Gara won against Republican Paul Evans for another seat on that same court and Zina Cruse, Andrew Gleeson and Daniel Emge were all retained as judges on the 20th Circuit Court.



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